Congratulations, you’re officially a cancer survivor! No more frequent visits to the cancer center for treatment or check-ins with your cancer care team. While this is an exciting time, it can also be a little unnerving now that you’re “on your own.” You might even be wondering, “What comes next?”
It’s understandable that you may be feeling a wide range of emotions including excitement, gratitude, anxiety, and even fear. Considering that every survivor and their circumstances are different, that’s completely normal! Transitioning back to a “normal” life doesn’t happen overnight and sometimes requires a little help. Because of this, your RMCC cancer care team will be by your side helping you with the next steps. Still, it’s a good idea to learn how you can be proactive after treatment.
Get a Follow-Up Care Plan
Once your cancer treatment comes to an end, you won’t see your cancer team as much. However, it’s necessary to come back for follow-up care. Together, you and your cancer team will work to create a plan for follow-up appointments that will help you reach important post-treatment milestones. With their guidance, you can also get familiar with what to expect, including how to alleviate the fear of recurrence, which is a common source of anxiety for survivors.
With less need for your cancer care team, you’ll once again rely more often on doctors outside of oncology for your routine medical needs. Moving forward, it’s important to inform all of your doctors about the type of cancer you had and how your cancer was treated. Knowing this information will help them remain watchful for side effects that can show up months or years after treatment ends. Be sure to provide your doctors with detailed copies of your personal health records.
Get Emotional Support
You probably had a lot of support as a patient. The good news is that you can still have support as a survivor. No one understands how you’re feeling like other survivors who have walked a similar path. Visiting our Survivorship page or talking with your cancer care team is a great first step toward finding support groups that will allow you to freely discuss the struggles, worries, and emotions you may be feeling now that treatment has ended.
Remember, any major life change can be a bit scary and it’s normal that you may fear this transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor. Keep in mind that we at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers are here for you, striving to help you get all you need to transition into your new cancer survivor role.